New life, new community

Šola Rokometa Zagorje, women’s handball team

Today it is 2nd of October and it is hard to belief for me that it has already been one month I spent in Slovenia. On the one hand, it feels like I just arrived yesterday. There are still so many things new for me and I daily live situations I am not used to, like for example taking the bus to go to Trbolvje the first time, meeting a lot of new people, eating new things I never ate before (krumpantoč, Balkan sweets,…) and of course learning new Slovenian words every day. Even though I am from Germany and many people tell me, they have many similar words to German, I haven’t found them yet and it is hard for me to learn this Slavic language. In addition, every event we have in the Youth Center is a new experience I really enjoy.

On the other hand, I already feel comfortable with my new life here in Zagorje. I just finished school this year, so it is a little bit challenging for me to live without a family. However, I think until now I am doing well with cooking, washing, cleaning and all the things you have to do living for your own. Before I came here, I never thought that buying groceries could be something difficult. It turned it was. I was a kind of lost in the big supermarket and had no idea of all the things I need. Finally, I went the next day again, because it felt like half of the things I need were missing. Now I would say I am able to manage my shopping and to live without big problems my daily life.

An important fact for me to feel comfortable in a new surrounding is that I am somehow in contact with the local community. If there is nothing I have to do in the afternoon or evening, I get the feeling that I need to do something with my energy. I am used to have no free time just doing nothing, because of training, rehearsals or volunteering. So entering the community in Zagorje is something I put effort in. It was a little bit hard to get in contact with the handball trainer of the local club, but finally I managed to show up at the practice. I entered the changing room, where the whole handball team was already sitting. They did not know that I was coming so they were a little bit confused. Thankfully, they welcomed me, so now I can go there several times a week. Besides sport I tried to integrate myself in some music activities. Until this moment I was not successful with that but I am really busy so I don’t know if I would be able to find time to manage it.
I think free time activities are the best possibility to get in contact with locals. Of course, it is not always easy. First, there is the language barrier many people are afraid of. To talk in English is not comfortable for everyone so until I improved my Slovenian I will probably enjoy listening a lot. Second, the groups you join mostly know each other for a long time, so being the new one is also sometimes connecting with some uncomfortable situations.
Otherwise, joining a group, like a sports team, and meeting them every week still helps to build up a connection to locals. Maybe they are shy at the beginning, but who stays shy for more than 9 months? That is the period of time I will stay here, so I am optimistic regarding my integration into the society.

To integrate into the local community needs time and effort. However, from my point of view, until now, I would say it is worth to work on it. And I like to say: “Nothing worth having comes easy!”

Juliane Heidegger, ESC volunteer of Mladinski center Zagorje ob Savi, projekt SolidARiTy


Projekti prostovoljstva v okviru Evropske solidarnostne enote mladim nudijo priložnosti za prostovoljsko delo. Odgovarjati morajo na pomembne potrebe družbe, prispevati h krepitvi skupnosti in ob tem prostovoljcem omogočati, da pridobivajo uporabne izkušnje, veščine in kompetence za svoj osebni, izobraževalni, socialni, državljanski in profesionalni razvoj, s čimer se izboljšuje njihova zaposljivost.

Več o programu Evropske solidarnostne enote (slo. ESE, ang. ESC, bivši EVS) si lahko preberete na povezavi: